Happy Friday, DCW. There's a lot to feel good about today.
First, take this quiz from Pew. If you're a regular DCW reader, you are going to get every question correct. The quiz is "What do you know about political parties?" Cake!
Second, Sunday is April 15th, tax day, and your taxes are not due until Tuesday. That's because Monday is Emancipation Day, which celebrates Abraham Lincoln's freeing of the slaves in DC on that date in 1862. While the rest of the country was waiting for the end of the Civil War and the Constitutional codification, this was a great day for DC. If you're in the DC area, here is a list of the events that will be taking place to mark the occasion. And yes, there will be fireworks, as there should be, to mark this auspicious anniversary.
Next, I learned something this morning about the convention that I didn't know. I received a link to this survey about the convention. It asks some questions about potential speakers, and it actually is a survey to see what it would take to get you to donate, but what I hadn't known is that the convention won't be taking any corporate or PAC money to fund the convention, and the convention will be free and open to the public. If the DNC actually pulls off a convention with no corporate sponsorship and no PAC money, it will be in stark contrast to the GOP (its convention and hey, everything about it) which is completely beholden to corporate interests, with their presidential candidate being the poster boy for the über rich.
And then there's Nicholas Merrill and his Calyx Institute. Here's his description:
The Calyx Institute is named after my former Internet Service Provider (Calyx Internet Access) which I started in NYC in 1994, and which became the plaintiff in the original challenge against the constitutionality of National Security Letters in the USA Patriot Act beginning in 2004, known as Doe v. Ashcroft, Doe v. Mukasey, Doe v. Gonzales and finally Doe v. Holder.
It all started when I received a National Security Letter from the FBI demanding a long list of information about one of my ISPs clients. With the ACLU’s help, I fought the FBI and DOJ in federal court for six years, under gag order. I was forbidden, under threat of imprisonment, from telling anyone that I had received the letter or that I was the plaintiff in the case. It was only in 2010 that I was finally able to identify myself.
He's looking to start a new nationwide ISP with complete privacy protections. You can read more here. In the past couple days, since he launched his fund raising drive, Merrill has raised $40,000 of the million he needs to get started. Imagine: a way to surf the internet without fear of subpoena.
Vermont is considering a bill which if enacted would make GMO labeling mandatory. GMO foods are banned in a lot of the world, and all of Europe, because of the health threat they pose to humans and animals. Vermont is the first state in America to even attempt this sort of action. Monsanto has threatened to sue the state, which has stalled the bill. Still, it's a positive that Vermont is even trying. You can sign the "Hey Monsanto leave Vermont alone" petition here. If you're already seeking non-GMO food, you can get great information on what to buy where here. (Also available as a phone app.) If you don't know why GMO foods are bad for you, click here for info, or here to see that in some of their own cafeterias, even Monsanto won't feed GMO food to their employees. Note from your doctor: you'll feel better once you stop eating GMO food.
And finally, yesterday George Zimmerman stood up in court for the first time (on the Trayvon Martin murder, George has been to court for violence before in other cases). He will be arraigned next month. If you heard Angela Corey's press conference on Wednesday, or have seen the affidavit (here), you know that this is a step towards justice in the horrible, racially-motivated murder of a young boy.
So have a great Friday. I'll be back on Sunday with the latest edition of Sunday with the Senators.